After getting a Google alert linking to a file sharing site Mobilism, in which a user was asking other users for a pirated copy of his book The English Monster, author Lloyd Shepherd decided to respond to the reader seeking the illicit material.
He explained that he was the author and asked the user to explain his behavior. Shepherd wrote: “Can it be that you’re offering to pay someone to create an ebook of the book I wrote? I’d be interested to hear your justification for this. For your interest, this book took me two years to write, and represents (on a rough estimate) perhaps 500 hours of work on my part, not to mention the time and effort put in by others to design, print, copy-edit and produce the final version. And you’re proposing to pay someone else – someone who had no part in the making of the book – to produce a copy for you. Is there a good reason why you can’t pay through normal channels for my book?”
The reader responded and explained his position. He wrote: “Bottom line is, there is no justification or reason that would or should ever satisfy the author of original content. Anyone that tries to make sense of this process (that publishinghouses are greedy; that knowledge should be free … just two reasons that I have seen bandied about) is just fooling themselves. There is also a Robin Hood aspect to this, that perhaps you may understand. Either way, I don’t think there is a way of putting this digital information era genie back into the bottle.”
Not totally satisfied with the response, Shepherd decided to pursue the issue further and created his own thread on the forum called Novelist seeks understanding to which users defended their behavior and claimed to be legitimate book buyers who use the site as a community to find out about new books and new authors. They also stressed the point that as a new and lesser known author, having his books on the site was free publicity.
What do you think?
(Via The Guardian UK).